By Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it’s a reminder for all of us of the importance of checking in on each other and seeking support in times of crisis.
We know that every year thousands of individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members suffering a tragic loss. When we lose someone to suicide, it has a deep and profound effect on us.
Suicide has warning signs, and I encourage you to take the time to learn them. Seeking support for ourselves, a loved one, or a colleague can make the world of difference. We can help one another by checking in on one another, letting people know that they are not alone, and that there are many people who care for them.
There are also a wide range of mental health resources to help us through challenging times. This year, the new 988 number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline went into effect. Too many people are experiencing suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need, and sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic only increased the mental health challenges we face. 988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. That could be:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mental health or substance use crisis
- Any other kind of emotion distress.
In addition to the new crisis line, there are many more effective and compassionate resources available:
- Mental Health Benefits and Resources for King County Employees
- Mental Health Accommodations for King County employees
- Recognize the signs and know the risk factors via National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Mental Health First Aid Training
Join Balanced You’s Suicide Prevention Awareness events this September, and please continue to care for yourself and lookout for one another. Together we can break the silence and stigma, and spread the message that hope, help, and support are available. Together we can prevent suicide.
Balanced You presents: A Conversation on Suicide Prevention Awareness
Thursday, Sept. 29 from 1 to 2 p.m. Register here.
This event is intended to provide an opportunity for King County employees to normalize the discussion around mental health, learn how to identify early warning signs of suicidal ideation, and learn more about resources available to support the mental health of employees and their loved ones. The panel will be coordinated by our employee well-being team, Balanced You and feature a panel of King County mental health experts.